Januvia, type 2 diabetes, facts

Everything You Need to Know about Januvia

Januvia is a medication for type 2 diabetes that is a good alternative for people who don’t want the side effects of other common diabetes medications, such as weight gain and low blood sugar. The drug is not for those with type 1 diabetes. 

Januvia (sitagliptin phosphate) works by increasing the release of insulin and decreasing glucagon levels.

Benefits of Januvia

Some of the main benefits of Januvia include:

  • Improves glucose control
  • Improves A1C levels
  • Lowers the risk of serious diabetes complications
  • Can be taken with or without food
  • May be combined with other diabetes treatments
  • Doesn’t make you drowsy

Side effects of Januvia

The most common side effects of Januvia are upper respiratory infection and runny nose, which usually go away within a few days. Other side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Upset stomach
  • Joint pain
  • Low blood sugar
  • Allergic reactions
  • Kidney problems
  • Pancreatitis

What to know about taking Januvia

Here are the basics of taking Januvia:

  • You’ll take one pill a day (either 25 mg, 50 mg, or 100 mg).
  • Januvia can be taken with or without food.
  • Occasionally your doctor will do blood tests to check your kidney function. Based on this, your doctor may change your prescription strength.
  • You may need to take Januvia along with other diabetes medications. Alternatively, your doctor may recommend Janumet, which is a combination of Januvia and Metformin.
  • Don’t take two doses of Januvia at the same time or on the same day.

When you should not take Januvia

There are certain cases when a person should NOT take Januvia. These include if you:

  • Are allergic to any of the ingredients
  • Have pancreatitis
  • Experience kidney problems
  • Suffer from other serious medical conditions
  • Are pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding

How to save on Januvia

Januvia can cost up to $500 for a 30-day supply, but with insurance it can go down to around $40. A generic version of Januvia is not yet available. 

These are a few ways to save on your Januvia prescription:

ways to save on januvia

  • Take an alternative medication such as metformin, Janumet, or Amaryl.
  • Use a coupon from GoodRx or another pharmacy.
  • See Merck’s website to join a program to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
  • For uninsured patients, Merck offers the Merck Helps program to save on your medications.
  • Purchase a higher dose pill and split it in half. Talk to your doctor about whether this is a safe option for you. 

Before starting or stopping Januvia, talk to your doctor. Make sure to tell your doctor about all other medications and supplements you are taking. Stop taking Januvia and call your doctor if any allergy-like symptoms occur, such as joint pain, rash, or vomiting.